Aruba has SO many amazing things to offer - beautiful beaches, private islands, amazing architecture, lovely people, world-class seafood... I was a bit overwhelmed trying to do all of the things! Below are a few of the things that we did and I would recommend to anyone visiting Aruba.
(Our go-to's for vacation bookings are booking.com, Kayak, Expedia, Priceline, or Travelocity. I'm a bargain shopper always so check them all and find the best deal for you. We booked this vacation package through CheapCaribbean.com )
We love to snorkel and see beautiful sea life. Aruba had multiple snorkel cruises to offer, but I wanted to make sure to choose something memorable. Nailed it. We chose Jolly Pirates because you cruise out on a pirate ship, enjoy drinks, snorkel, and at the end, you get to take a rope swing off the top deck and swing your way into the turquoise Caribbean waters. Who wouldn't want to do that?!
Seriously, just sign up for this. You won't regret it. We went on a Sunday morning at 9am because the tickets were significantly cheaper during this time frame. The cruise stops at three locations including a WWII shipwreck before stopping for lunch and pirate rope swinging.
2. Eat Dinner at Flying Fishbone -
I actually do not like seafood. I have a shellfish allergy. I'm not an ideal person to travel to tropical places with and sample all of the fresh seafood. However, my husband loves seafood so it was on our list to try a nice restaurant in Aruba. I chose Flying Fishbone based on user reviews and ratings from Trip Advisor. I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough. The setting is gorgeous. Some of the tables are actually in the water! Those tables require a reservation well in advance though. We walked in and got a table (luckily) further back from the water around 6pm. The service was impeccable. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and actually led me to choose my order for that night - unicorn fish. He offered to take pictures of us in front of the sunset, brought refills and appetizers, and anything else very quickly. My dinner order... O.M.G. It was by far my favorite meal that I had while on the island. Again, I don't like seafood. I couldn't get enough of my unicorn fish dinner. Absolutely delicious. The restaurant prices are a bit steep but it was so worth it to have a wonderful dinner in an unforgettable setting.
3. Arikok National Park -
This one requires some effort but the scenes, experiences, and photos we got were well worth it. It is $11/pp to enter the park for the day. Some parts, such as the caves, close at 4pm so get there early to see everything and avoid a little bit of the heat. We rented a car during our stay in Aruba, a Kia Rio, and I felt it was a bit insufficient for touring Arikok. Some of the sights in the park are only reachable with a 4x4. A Jeep rental for the day was as much money as our car rental for the entire week so you decide. We made it to several sights within the park safely in the Kia.
First, we headed to the caves; Fontein and Quadirikiri. The caves are small and don't take long to tour but the pictures and experiences were beautiful. There are also guided tours available if you're into that.
Next, we headed to Dos Playa to take in the views of the coast.
There are steps down the rocks that lead to a beach below. We were the only ones there that day and it was such a peaceful place to take in the views.
Before we left Arikok, we drove around a little bit further and took pictures of the scenery. It's a rustic, expansive national park and I definitely recommend heading out to see the Aruba landscape.
4. Arashi Beach -
We wanted to make sure to tour all of the beaches we could while we were in Aruba and I'm so glad we did! The one that stuck out to us for its pure beauty was Arashi Beach. We found it on our way to see the California Lighthouse. The sand is pure, soft white, the water is bright, brilliant turquoise, and there is a lovely beach bar with awesome drinks. The beach is public so there were salesmen trying to sell chairs and water and Wifi. The palapas and umbrellas are free though on a first come first serve basis. We sat on the sand under a palapa (for free) and sipped our drinks while enjoying the view. It's a do-not-miss sight to take in.
5. Last but certainly not least, FLAMINGO BEACH!
You can't go to Aruba or read about things to do in Aruba without hearing about the famous flamingo beach. We were guests at the Renaissance Resort so our passes to the private island were included with our hotel stay. Tickets are reserved for guests, but occasionally there are a few available for non-hotel guests. I wouldn't risk it though. Book a stay - whether your whole trip or a night or two - at the Renaissance to be able to go to Flamingo Beach. The island is split into two sections; the flamingo side is adults only with a small swimming area, a bar with a few food items, hammocks, private cabanas, and of course flamingos. The other side is Iguana beach which is equally as beautiful. There are tons of iguanas that will beg for your food and attention. The swimming area is very shallow and perfect for laying in the water. There is a full restaurant, restrooms, a bar, water equipment rentals, hammocks, beds for lounging, and anything else you could need. We split our time equally between the two sides. You can't go wrong with either.
We went to many other sights during our stay in Aruba, but these were definitely top of our list of favorites. Happy traveling and I hope you enjoy this beautiful island as much as we did!
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